New camera technology: See around corners

When I was a kid, there was a periscope you could make out of a cardboard tube and two small hand mirrors to see around corners. Now there’s a video camera system that can do the same.

Camera Can See Around Corners and Femtosecond Camera Sees Around Corners articles tell that Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge have created a camera that is able to record images of objects hidden behind walls. The video system, called Cornar, was created by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. It can look beyond the line of sight, as well as peer around corners.

Conar is based on a ultra-fast camera sensor and a femtosecond laser. Conar works by firing a pulse of laser light at a wall on the far side of the hidden scene, and record the time at which the scattered light reaches a camera. Bursts of light generated by the laser reflect off of multiple surfaces and reconstruct a 3D image. The camera captures this time-of-flight information and uses it to reconstruct an image of the hidden object (abstract). Photons bounce off the wall onto the hidden object and back to the wall, scattering each time, before a small fraction eventually reaches the camera, each at a slightly different time.

How to see around corners article points to this nice video of Conar operation.

It seems that scattering is not the only way to bend light around corner. Light normally travels in straight lines, but physicists have known for several years that superimposing a pattern on a laser beam can make it bend. Self-bending light boomerangs could help surgeons article tells that self-beaming light beams are capable of turning a corner like a boomerang. They are darting around an optics laboratory in France. The team have bent beams just a few micrometres across by up to 60 degrees, using a device known as a spatial light modulator. The beam pattern is designed so that the individual light rays that make up the beam interfere with each other in a way that makes the beam curve. Dudley’s team has already used these bendy lasers to carve glass into curved shapes.


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  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hyper-sensitive laser camera sees around corners in real time

    You never know what’s around the corner — unless you happen to have a super-advanced camera designed by researchers at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. This device has been designed to take extremely sensitive photographs that can detect the minute reflected lights from objects not in its field of vision. The result is a camera that sees around corners, and it works in real time.

    The single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) camera relies upon a type of echo mapping. You can think of it a little like radar, but with light. This part isn’t anything new — other projects have managed to do similar things. However, this camera is so sensitive that it can capture a photo every second. Therefore, you can watch an object move with the SPAD camera even when it’s technically out of sight.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Seeing Around Corners with Frickin’ Lasers

    Researchers at the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University have created a sensor that can see around corners using lasers, high speed cameras, and some intense data processing. They can essentially turn a laser light source into a virtual mirror to look through.

    Here’s how this amazing new camera can see around corners
    Spy game is strong.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Smartphone Cameras Peek Around Corners by Analyzing Patterns of Light

    Magically seeing around corners to spot moving people or objects may not rank first in most people’s superhero daydreams. But MIT researchers have shown how they could someday bestow that superpower upon anyone with a smartphone.

    Their secret to peeking around corners is detecting slight differences in light patterns reflected from moving objects or people. Those reflected light patterns form subtle variations in the shadowy area near the base of each corner. MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) created simple software that can detect fuzzy pattern variations in the pixels of a 2-D video—taken by a basic consumer camera or even a smartphone camera—and reconstruct the speed and trajectory of moving objects by stitching together multiple, distinct 1-D images.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Stanford researchers develop technique to see objects hidden around corners

    Someday your self-driving car could react to hazards before you even see them, thanks to a laser-based imaging technology being developed by Stanford researchers that can peek around corners.


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